Virtual Folders / Searches

When you open your Home folder in Vista, you may notice a green bar start to fill up in the address bar field.

What is Vista doing? Is it indexing?

Even if Indexing is disabled, Vista still does its “searching” before displaying the folder’s contents. Sometimes this searching can take a long time.

When the files do display, you may have some trouble sorting them. When displaying the contents in a Detail view, you may notice one of the columns is “Folder path”.

But what if you open your Documents folder? Usually this pops right open.

What is the difference?

Vista treats your home folder as a “virtual folder”, or a “saved search”.

Here is the description of the “Windows Search” service:

“Provides content indexing and property caching for file, email and other content (via extensibility APIs). The service responds to file and email notifications to index modified content. If the service is stopped or disabled, the Explorer will not be able to display virtual folder views of items, and search in the Explorer will fall back to item-by-item slow search.”

“Windows Search”, “Search Indexer”, “WSearch”, “SearchIndexer.exe” are all the same name for Vista’s Indexing.

The paths in the Home folder are saved here:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders